On Travel Nursing: Pros And Cons Of Extending A Contract

Right now, I’m on my last week of my first ever travel nursing assignment. It’s been a crazy ride for our career and this blog, I must say. Everything seemed to happen so fast that I missed tracking some important events in this journey. But for now, I’m going to share with you the things we considered when extending our contract.

November of last year when Luis and I finally took the leap of faith and ventured into this journey that is travel nursing. Many wonderful things happened since. Fast forward to this day and five months after, here we are: finally leaving Lufkin and moving on to our next destination. But aren’t you supposed to only have 13 weeks? I know, I get that question a lot.


FAST FACT

Travel assignments usually last for 8-13 weeks. The contract depends on patient load, season, and overall need of the hospital.

 


Initially, we signed up for a thirteen-week assignment. And we loved it! I couldn’t explain this more but everything about workload and work environment are amazing.

Why did we stay?

 

After our 13 weeks, we received an email saying that we are eligible to extend. To be able to qualify for an extension, travel nurses should be able to pass according to the facility’s standards. Some staff are generally asked about our performance, work ethics, and how we carry ourselves. Are we knowledgable enough? Are we competent enough? Do we follow hospital policy? Do we break house rules? Are we good with our patients? Do we communicate well with staff?

Those were just sample questions that I heard from staff and management. To keep it short, it basically assesses whether the hospital wants to keep us or not. So being able to receive the extension offer, we are really elated! It’s our first assignment so we didn’t really expect much.

Here are the reasons we extended aka the pros of extending our travel nursing assignment:

1. No need for adjustment

 

We already know the different policies of the hospital. Where to get stuff. Who to call for this. How their equipment work. How people coordinate with other staff. Everything seems to be easy peasy when you familiarize yourself with these little bumps while working.

2. Higher paycheck, same expenses

 

When we accepted the extension offer, we tried to negotiate. If they wanted us real bad, they should be able to give us what we want. We were able to agree with $100 increase per week. It’s not much compared to what other travel nurses are requiring when they ask for a deal, but it’s already enough for us. From $1,400+ take home (tax already excluded) per week, we’re able to earn $1,500/wk.

3. More time to explore the place

 

Lufkin is a small city but is strategically located between Houston and Louisiana. There is not much to see in Lufkin, honestly. However, it is only two hours away from Houston so we were able to go in that amazing city whenever we like.

I even got the chance to experience Rodeo Houston!

And even watch THE Alicia Keys!

We were also able to go to Louisiana, and as far as New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. Full post here.

 

It is truly one for the books! Five months in this place but it is still too short to try their incredible and amazing local restaurants! I promise to make a post about it. They are just so good!

4. Getting to know people on a deeper level 

 

During our whole stay, we got the chance to befriend some of the coolest and friendliest people on earth. We’re really happy that our coworkers in Woodland Heights are accommodating and simply amazing! More time staying means more time to be with these awesome people.

5. No need to pack. Again.

 

The only hassle of traveling often is the whole preparation thing. I just hate packing. Packing sheet! lol ok. It’s meant to be a pun because I don’t swear. It’s a breeze not to load all your stuff at the back of the car and squeeze them to bits just to fit everything we have. We’re still new at this and no matter how many pinterest boards I make to keep me organized, it just takes so much time. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

All is well, right? But…

Why do we need to go?

 

No matter how many pros I include in this list, extending a contract has its fair share of consequences as well. The gypsy in us is going to agree with these cons:

1. Homesickness will eventually kick in.

 

Travel is a great way to explore the world and find yourself. But being away from home for too long doesn’t do you good also. You miss events, family gatherings, and the feeling of being in your comfort zone. Luis told me that this is one thing that he’d never outgrow and I totally get it. If I’m given the chance to be with my family, sign me up! Good thing we were able to have our two-week off after our thirteen weeks assignment. Our recruiter is the best. We super love her! #TeamKelly

2. Limits in professional growth

 

One of the many reasons I signed up for travel nursing is discovering more of my potential. With different sets of people/coworkers, I learn more techniques and nursing interventions that enable me to become a better nurse. If I stay in one place, I’m afraid I’d miss out on that chance to improve my skills and knowledge.

3. Complacency

 

There is no wrong being comfortable in your work space, however, when you see yourself starting to become complacent, it’s asking for danger. Nursing is not the profession for “routine work.” Nothing is ever a routine. And when it feels like it does, that means you’re doing something wrong or something that doesn’t contribute to your patient care. When you see yourself doing the same thing over and over, and you feel like it’s “getting old,” it’s the gypsy soul saying, “it’s time to move.”

4. Workplace politics

 

When you start working in a new facility, you don’t know anybody. You don’t know whose team is late or early at work. You don’t know who’s the most hated nurse or the most strict nurse leader, or basically the center of every gossip. But when you stay longer than you should, believe me, you’re gonna play favorites eventually, and you wouldn’t want that. Peace of mind while at work is my jive. Taking care of sick people is already stressful. Spare me from negativities!

5. More destinations

 

When you extend a contract, that means that’s another contract in another place that you didn’t apply for. And while everything is doing great in Lufkin, I just feel like there is so much more in the US that I want to explore! When I first got here, I didn’t even know where Lufkin is. I didn’t have any idea how much good vibes this place would bring me. And I know there are more places like this that I need to discover! So we hopped on to our next destination— VIRGINIA!

I am so excited to go there and I’m already pinning locations that we are planning to visit. Follow me on Pinterest to see these boards!

To travel nurses reading this, what are your thoughts on extending a contract?

Also, let me know your pet peeves when packing.

I badly need to avoid those for our next road trip.

Posted on: April 18, 2017, by : Gelli
  • wow sounds like the perfect job to me. my sister is studying to become a nurse, I have to tell her about your blog

    • That’s great to hear! We need to connect so I can show her the ropes. Excited for her! 🤗

  • TheTiinchaaa

    Ow, when I started reading it I thought you were to stay! But like you said, it has it pros and cons! I actually didn’t know travelling as a nurse was actually a thing! That’s really amazing. I wish you best of luck!

  • Danielle Gould

    This is great, Gelli. If I was single, I would have been a traveling OT. I will live vicariously through you!

  • Emily Lowe

    I’ve never heard of the term “travel nursing” before coming across your blog. I do know of foreign nurses and their contracts are a lot longer than 13 weeks. I can see that you are having a great time. Keep doing what you love!

  • The Taste Team, LLC

    I have acquaintances in the nursing/medical field who have done the traveling part of it. I can imagine it’s great to explore different parts of the world, especially for travelers like us. Plus, you get a little taste of each city to decide from when you’re ready to settle down or move.

  • Tengkubutang Miaw

    i.ve read this and agrre with it :

    3. Complacency
    There is no wrong being comfortable in your work space, however, when you see yourself starting to become complacent, it’s asking for danger. Nursing is not the profession for “routine work.” Nothing is ever a routine. And when it feels like it does, that means you’re doing something wrong or something that doesn’t contribute to your patient care. When you see yourself doing the same thing over and over, and you feel like it’s “getting old,” it’s the gypsy soul saying, “it’s time to move.”

  • Ivia Hui

    This will be the job that I will die to have! Such great oppo and u get to see Alicia Key!

  • Li Ya Na

    I feel like you should explore more…life is all about discovering new things…

  • carlingdoodling

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. It looked like you had so much fun at seeing Alicia Keys perform! What a high!

  • Krizzia Navarroza

    I so envy you! This is such a lovely experience and I think you are really having fun. Plus, who does not love Alicia Keys?

  • Kelly Chin

    Thanks for sharing this, I wish to see Alicia Keys perform live as well.

  • Fatin Bella

    Wow you got to watch alicia keys concert! Im so jealous! You should do what you love dear :*

  • Miera Nadhirah Rashidi

    In life, we have to learn how to love ourselves and live our life to the fullest doing what we like…. and then it is a happy life worth living

  • Relyn Manuel

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. It’s a tough job being a nurse but I salute you for putting yourself out there. Cheers! 🙂

  • Aqalili Azizan

    This is really something new for me and thank god I get to know what is travel nursing! By the way, I post about travelling too sometimes, check out my blog at Curitan Aqalili:)

  • Ral

    nice blog, very true. i really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot. thanks for sharing

  • travel nursing? sounds new to me. homesickness is really something when travelling ain’t it?

    One of my pet peeves when packing is the post-trip — unpacking. lol

  • Damn, I’m hearing about the city Lufking for the first time when I’ve Huston in my bucket list!

  • Innana Canon-Chimoun

    Ahhh we just recently went to a rodeo show and LOVED it!! you live a very interesting life my dear <3

  • Riely Mills

    I have never heard of Lufkin myself or that travel nursing was such a thing! Homesickness is definitely hard, but at least you get to explore a new part of the world. There’s always another year for you to set up somewhere new, but for now enjoy yourself!

  • Betty Liew siaw fan

    Is really fun to learn different thing when you at other country and it hard to say goodbye when contract end. but sometime our own home countries still need talent for help.

  • Bella Leong

    Wow this is awesome! Thanks for sharing, first time heard about travel nursing, salute!

  • Wauw that is a great way to see something from the world. Never heard of Travel nursing. Sounds like a great adventure.

  • How exciting! I’d love to see her! 🙂

  • Yes first time heard about travel nurse! For me sound great and adventurous! 😛

❤︎

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